Fullmetal Alchemist

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Fullmetal Alchemist / Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.jpg
Edward in front, Alphonse in the back.
Original Manga Hiromu Arakawa
Director Seiji Mizushima (2003)
Yasuhiro Irie (Brotherhood)
Format Anime (TV), Manga
Made By Bones
# of Episodes 51 (2003)
64 (Brotherhood)
# of Manga Volumes 27


Action, Drama, Fantasy, Recommended Dub

Sum it up in a Sentence

Teen brothers want to find the Philosopher's Stone to get their bodies back.

Main Description

In an alchemy ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and leg, and his younger brother, Alphonse, became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical prosthetics (aka "auto-mail"), Edward joins the military as a State Alchemist, hoping it will lead them to the one thing that can restore their bodies: the legendary Philosopher's Stone! Along the way they uncover a well-kept conspiracy involving Homunculi, artificial humans with super human powers, and a scarred man with a mysterious past.

Please note that there are two different anime adaptations of the original manga: the original one created before the manga's completion in 2003 (Fullmetal Alchemist), and a second created as the manga was wrapping up in 2009 (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood). The Brotherhood one is more accurate to the manga, whereas the original makes up things as it goes.

If You Liked This, You Might Like...

If you liked the plot and don't mind the action getting slow or talky sometimes see:

If you liked the specific FMA alchemy theme try:

If you're in just for the Shounen action check out:

If you'd like to see what else creator Hiromu Arakawa made:

Personal Opinions


For me, this is the best anime I've seen. I'm more of a casual fan. I don't download subs and am willing to wait for shows to be dubbed. The anime seems balanced in a way. The action scenes don't seem to drag on and the story stays on track with the exception of maybe six episodes. Since this is based on a manga that is still going, fillers had to be made. However, the fillers aren't a continuous string of episodes. There's two filler episodes near the beginning that include a couple characters who return at the end to help Edward. As well as one episode that helps give more back story to the character, Lust. A few things that bother me is that the dialogue starts to get a little repetitive in the beginning. Ed and Al talk about restoring their bodies back at least twice an episode, luckily it eventually stops once Ed and Al realize that there's more going on than their wants. I feel that the characters with the exception of one or two are likable. You can find traits that you may even have in common with them. Even with the antagonists. They aren't just plain evil, some have internal struggles, some may want to just live their lives in peace.
Lust a.k.a. Breasts

The voice acting is great, unlike most animes where they have a woman play the voice of a young boy, FUNimation had Aaron Dismuke, who at the start of the series was twelve years old play the role of Edward's brother Alphonse. The music is orchestrated and really makes the anime. The soundtrack even includes Beethoven's Fifth. Again, since the manga is still being written another ending was needed for the series. Most people think it's way too 'out there' but I think it just fine really. Last September, the movie "Conqueror of Shamballa" was released in America. It was a continuation and an ending to the anime series. It airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim line-up. However if you're like me and simply don't have the time to watch TV, the DVD's are a great investment. Unlike FUNimation's past DVD releases i.e. Dragonball Z, these are really well made. Each DVD includes an insert booklet with concept art and production notes. The DVD's themselves include the standard English and Japanese with Subtitles options. The extras usually include trailers for FUNimation's other shows (which are absolutely terrible), textless ending and opening themes, specific character biographies, as well as secret joke previews for the next episodes.


What I appreciate the most in FMA is the plot. Most animes try to get away with a single gimmick and one or two twists on the way, but in FMA you never know what's around the corner. Sure, switching from comedy to drama as the plot progresses is pretty common in many shows, but FMA does it with great class, introducing some great characters on the way. Dividing them into multiple factions, each pursuing their own goals also adds to the overall good impression. The sad part is the creators of the anime somewhat overdid it and thus the plot twist at the ending became the pun of multiple ADTRW jokes, however its really not that bad if you don't watch the movie, which... Well, it sucks. The animation quality and music are decent. In my opinion FMA is a good show for shounen fans who also appreciate a decent, interesting plot, and don't mind a occasional filler or talk episode.

Big Big Moon

I have to disagree with Totalizator in regards to the shounen aspect of Fullmetal Alchemist. In every other regard it's a stellar show with very minimal filler and great characters, but the interesting premise is really dragged down by the shounen sequences. Ed Elric is annoying as hell. His cyborg arm, cockiness, cliche "cold asshole" treatment of Winry, and inability to control the volume of his voice are infuriating. The military members are multifaceted, entertaining, and engaging; the Elric brothers are a one-trick "brotherly love" pony with a neat magic gimmick. If FMA had focused more on people interacting with people and less on <Deadly sin-themed homonculi villain of the week!> fights, FMA could really be something special. It's unfortunate that it had to devolve into a story about Ed beating people up after a frantic struggle, especially in such a detailed, unique setting and atmosphere. I'd definitely recommend FMA to casual viewers, just don't expect The Godfather of anime serials. More like Rocky, except with less emotion and more villains.


Short but sweet. Everything you see early on connects later on. This is the only series I've seen which completely explains everything which happens in later plot points without ruining any future developments. This makes it easily one of the most watch able series ever.


I'm going to assume that Big Big Moon is only referring to the first series. The whole point of Brotherhood, to me, was about people interacting with people, even the homonculi to a certain extent (particularly when you consider the respective defeats of Greed, Envy, and Pride.) Ed and Al are much more believable and much more concerned about humanity in general. Winry has a bigger role as well as some really touching moments with Maes Hughes's family and even Scar. The homunculi are very different, the most obvious being Wrath, Pride, and Sloth. Greed even becomes a protagonist. Plus their very existence, as well as their individual actions, is ten times more interesting once you find out what's at stake. This is all thanks to the overarching plot-line that never stops once it gets into full-swing.

If you liked the first series but felt tentative about watching Brotherhood, please give it a try! The first one was good but Brotherhood blows it out of the water. (The manga is also very good but, since Brotherhood follows the manga closely, there's no harm in missing out on one or the other, unless you're eager to dig into both.) The Dub and Sub are both good but I'll admit that I watched the original series dubbed and Brotherhood subbed, so it's possible there are some differences in quality that I wasn't able to compare.


I was a little put off from the 2003 adaptation because of the anime-wacky-face-slapstick comedy it has sometimes, but Brotherhood is a really polished redux of the series and tells a story that makes a whole lot more sense than the 2003 one. Brotherhood was directed really well, and you get a lot of action bang for your buck while immersed in this deceptively dark world. Don't let the bad reputation the first adaptation got keep you from watching Brotherhood.